With jurors unable to reach a verdict on any of the charges, officer William Porter's trial was declared a mistrial on Wednesday afternoon. Following the judge's decision is the trial of Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who faces the most severe charge of the six officers involved: second-degree depraved-heart murder. Depraved-heart or depraved-indifference murder is defined by "depraved indifference" to human life in the actions of the defendant, where such actions result in death.
As the driver of the van in the contentious ride that resulted in Gray's death, Goodson's full charges include second-degree depraved-heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence), and misconduct in office. If he is found guilty, these charges carry a possible 30-year prison sentence. While Goodson did post a $350,000 bail, the grand jury indicted him on all charges, with the addition of reckless endangerment.
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man, was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for alleged possession of a switchblade. He was taken in a police van, driven by Goodson, and fell into a coma. Gray was driven to a trauma center where he died seven days later. On April 21, 2015, the six Baltimore police officers involved in Grey's death were temporarily suspended with pay, pending an investigation of the incident.
The most controversial aspect of the case is the ride in the van, which accounts for the heavy discrepancy in Goodson's charges. During Porter's four-hour testimony on Wednesday, he explained the procedures involved in transporting prisoners: "It is the responsibility of the wagon driver to get the prisoner from point A to point B." He did add that while officers were theoretically supposed to secure prisoners in seatbelt, it rarely occurred since cadets were not instructed on the matter.
Freddie Gray's hospitalization and subsequent death resulted in an ongoing series of protests. On April 25, 2015, a large protest in downtown Baltimore ended in 34 arrests, and injuries to 15 police officers. Following Gray's funeral on April 27, protests continued and heightened, and looting and burning of local businesses, as well as a CVS drug store, occurred. A state of emergency was declared by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, and the Maryland National Guard was deployed. This remains a heated issue throughout the United States, while Baltimore waits patiently for the next chapter.